African Lion, Cape Buffalo, Rhinoceros, African Elephant and African Leopard are the big five game animals in Africa. This term was given to these animals by big-game hunters as they were considered as the hardest animals to hunt on food on African territories. The size of the animals has nothing to do with the “Big Five” title, but instead the degree of danger involved in their hunt is what makes the name. Botswana, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Namibia, Ethiopia, Malawi and Republic of Congo are the countries where all five animals can be seen. All these five animals are different.
The African Lion also known as the Panthera Leo is a huge carnivorous feline. The female lion has a short, tawny coat with a tufted tail, while the male has a heavy mane around the neck and shoulders. The lion is often considered as the best of the big five due to its ability to attack without provocation. These creatures are desirable to hunt as they are challenging to hunt while hiding in the savanna where tall grasses and bushes provide camouflage. Hunters use three methods to hunt lions and these are hounding, stalking and baiting. However, there are many factors to be considered such as the law, the number of lions, the environment and the expertise of the hunter when chasing.
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The Cape Buffalo is considered as the most dangerous of the big five as these animals have killed more hunters than any other animals in Africa. Hippopotamus and crocodiles are also among the killer-animals, but not hunters. The riskiest hunts are the ones which involve wounded Cape Buffalo as being vulnerable making them attack pursuers with more persuasion.
The most difficult animals to hunt among the big five is the African Elephant. These creatures have thick skin which is mostly hairless, a prehensile trunk and long curved ivory tusks. There are two types of African Elephant: African Forest Elephant and African Bush Elephant. Despite being large creatures, elephants can hide in tall grass, and can counter-attack more than the other species.
Out of the big five, it is most difficult to acquire licences for Leopard hunting. This carnivorous feline is difficult to hunt due to its secretive and nocturnal nature. Being solitary animals, leopards become easily aware of human presence, and confront danger instantly. Baiting, hounding, and stalking are the most three methods used to catch this huge cat.
The Black Rhinoceros is the preferred target of hunters. These large thick-skinned animals have one upright horn in the middle of their heads. However, Rhinoceros are now among critically endangered species. This critically endangered species is generally thought to be solitary. Black rhinos are known for being extremely aggressive. They will charge readily at perceived threats.